Yo. If you’ve ever visited here, you know I’m a cinephile—er, cineaste—I mean, I LIKE MOVIES, OKAY?!?!?
Actually, I love them. If they’re done well. Here are the five (okay, I cheated and put seven) that have me the most geeked.
It’s fashionable to say that Anthony Hopkins is wrong for the role of the eponymous character. For my part, his performance in the trailer looks spot-on. The same for Helen Mirren, who might just garner an Oscar nom, and Scarlett Johansson whose casting as Janet Leigh appears inspired. Those who’ve read The Making of Psycho say it reads like a novel. Again, judging only from the trailer, I have to say they might be right.
6. Les Miserables
What excites me about this movie is also what worries me. There is no spoken dialogue in this film. It’s all sung. That could be captivating, or it could be mind-numbing. Regardless of how well Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech) musical works, I’m looking forward to seeing how Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and especially Russell Crowe (president of the People-Underrate-My-Acting-Ability-Because-of-My-Sometimes-Boorish-Behavior Club) perform.
I loved Casino Royale. In it Daniel Craig gave a nuanced, wonderful performance. Many folks want to forget Quantum of Solace, but that’s easy for me to do. I never saw it. Hah!
Not only does Craig look to be in excellent form in Skyfall, but the casting of Javier Bardem as his nemesis has me very intrigued. I still have nightmares about Anton Chighur from No Country for Old Men. In fact, let’s move on now so I can sleep at night.
4. Only God Forgives (*Actually to be released in March of 2013, but since I’d heard it was going to come out this year, I decided to include it. You know, because it’s always great to base a list on hearsay)
There were several great films in 2011 (The Artist, The Descendants, Midnight in Paris, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball), but the film I keep coming back to is Drive. In future years, I believe folks will shake their heads in disbelief that a decent film like Winter’s Bone was nominated for Best Picture while a sleek, visionary classic like Drive was almost totally ignored. Only God Forgives sounds even bloodier than Drive, so I’m sure it’ll be ignored, too, but I for one am very thankful we get to see Ryan Gosling work with Nicolas Wendig Refn again.
Tarantino is either amazing (Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs), merely good (Death Proof), or somewhere in between (Kill Bill: Volume 1). Here’s betting on something just south of Pulp Fiction but still more than good enough to snag several Oscar noms. Not that that’s why Tarantino does what he does (and that’s probably why he does what he does so wonderfully). Jamie Foxx looks like he’s good in the title role, but it’s Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio that appear to be the scene-stealers.
This gets my vote for the movie that will draw the most We’re-Hoping-This-Film-Will-Fail-Because-Everyone-Involved-with-It-Is-So-Talented-and-Reliable detractors. No one is consistently bashed the way that Spielberg is, and that just might be the surest sign that he’s the best director who ever lived. I’d put Hitchcock a close second, but when you look at body of work and the number of truly great films a director has made, I don’t think anyone surpasses Spielberg.
Then there’s Daniel Day-Lewis. Holy cow, does he look great in this. So does Tommy Lee Jones, who’ll be nominated for Best Supporting Actor and has a fighting chance to win. I don’t expect Lincoln to win Best Picture because, like Road to Perdition, people will only see the negative because they hate being told what horse to pull for. But I do expect this film to be outstanding and to stand the test of time.
1. The Hobbit
My favorite movies are The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ve heard a lot of folks say that splitting The Hobbit into three films is one big money grab on the part of Peter Jackson and the studio. To that I say, “Grab away!” I’m all for awesome and creative people taking my money. It’s why I didn’t feel bad the other night spending thirteen bucks for a short Stephen King Dark Tower infix (titled The Wind through the Keyhole and thus far proving worth ten times the amount I spent on it). It’s why guys like Jackson, Tarantino, Spielberg, and Scorsese can have my money (such as it is) whenever they like.
I also can’t wait to see Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.
And that’s a wrap! What a great year for film it has already been, and what a great group of movies there is still waiting to be seen. I didn’t mention the Robert Zemeckis/Denzel Washington collaboration Flight or half a dozen others because, well, I need to do other things. So on that rather lame note, I’ll conclude.
May the Precious be with you. (YES! I one-upped my previous lameness!)